12.22.05

NOAA Changing Formats

Posted in Dashboard, Miscellaneous at 8:56 pm by Kamal

It seems NOAA is slowly changing the formats of all its map. This new format uses a much more complex system with images overlaid on top of each other to form the full radar. The widget is not currently equipped to handle maps like this. I am working on adding support for it, but it might require a complete reworking of the way maps are handled. I’ll look into what it will take to use these new maps. For now, please be patient if your NOAA maps do not work.

5 Comments

  1. Alán Alán Apurim said,

    December 26, 2005 at 2:32 am

    The new multi-layered format gives 3-d terrain shadows to the land areas, maps of highways and city-names, various warning options … very complex, tripling the information, but slow to load for older dial-up (narrow-band) connections. I have called the NWS technicians and complained; they said they are considering an option to have the old (one-image-only) radar view. I ask readers here to seek out the webmaster links and to request the old system be retained … the simple solution is not being used. The current new system is, if you enter the old address (URL), it automatically “rolls over” to the new URL (which contains the acronym for the new format, “RIDGE”). The simple solution is to have a link from one version to the other on each other’s display. The old format would have a link, “Click here for the new enhanced view with warnings” whereas at the top (start of the new format’s download), there’d be an “opt-out” time-saving link “Click here for simpler narrowband view.”

  2. Alán Alán Apurim said,

    December 26, 2005 at 2:43 am

    One disadvantage of the new format is, you can’t save the image you see, unless (Macs have this) you have the computer take a picture of the image. With the old version, depending on the browser’s dialogue pop-up window, pressing the image by the mouse would allow a “save-as” and directory of where you want to save the image to and what you’d rename it, e.g., 2005-12-26HGX0743utSRCR.gif

  3. Kamal said,

    December 26, 2005 at 7:14 am

    I agree wholeheartedly with the comments by Alán Alán Apurim. The new radar image is slower than the old one now that each image is composed of five overlays. Then again, NOAA has always been pretty slow, given that they use a Java applet for the animated map. Having access to the old format would be most useful. They don’t even have all of the forecast pages changed yet, meaning some people get the old map and some people get the new one.

    I do have a version of the widget running that supports the map in the new format. However, using it with the “Save Maps” option is unbearably slow because it has to download more than twice the information of before. Technically, it only loads the radar layer and the legend layer in each reload, storing the layers for topography, county lines, rivers, and cities once. However, downloading twice as much information on 10 maps makes a big difference, particularly if one is using the widget to look at several different maps.

    While I think the RIDGE map looks nicer with the addition of topography, it certainly is harder to deal with in many ways. I’m going to hold off on releasing the new version of the widget until I’ve tested it a bit more, optimized it, and made sure NOAA has committed itself to this format.

  4. peter said,

    December 29, 2005 at 8:32 am

    the weather.com maps have stopped working for me too!!!

  5. Kamal said,

    December 29, 2005 at 10:45 am

    I believe it is just that weather.com is very slow this morning. I’m having difficulty in getting the maps to update, but they are updating.